ground, first layer, gesso

Usually a mixture of animal glue and a white to light gray filler, usually chalk or gypsum. Possible additives are oil or white lead, rarely ocher.

Often applied in several layers to the support of the work, the primer serves to fill out any unevenness, to act as a reflector for the layers of paint above it, and as a medium for flat, three-dimensional shapes or details. The layer thickness of the primer depends on the form language and the following painting technique. Finely carved hairs on sculptures, for example, are usually primed thinner than poliment-gilded areas. After application, the primer is usually smoothed.

The surface can be additionally decorated by:

  • Chalk priming: free plastic modeling with priming compound (pastiglia).

-plastic modeling by using other materials inserted into the primer (strings, cords, threads, textiles)

-Application of molding compounds

-ground removal or engraving